On the cusp of 2020, it still amazes me how many businesses, especially small businesses, do not have a Google My Business Account setup.
If you’re wondering what a GMB account is, go to your Google search bar and search for “dentist near me” and look at the results. On the right-hand side will be a box with a business in it. THAT IS GMB.
When well optimized, Google My Business is a beneficial tool that can help more people find your business and provide you with valuable insights about your customers.
Without a GMB account setup and optimized (all the information is complete, the proper categories selected, images uploaded, logo uploaded), you will lose out on close to 44% of the top SERP traffic, and this traffic is of the highest intent.
The reality is, if you are not showing up in the three pack for your money-making keywords, you are losing out, big time.
YOU’RE LOSING MONEY!
Because those clicks are going to your competitors, they are calling your competitors, and your competitors are getting the business.
So if you’re not in the three-pack, what can you do?
Complete Your GMB Profile
The first step is to fill in all the information every field within your GMB profile and have it be as accurate as possible. These are the things you need to fill in:
Set up your Google Business Listing (if you haven’t yet).
Choose a relevant, specific category
Load quality, high-resolution images.
Make sure your information matches everywhere else.
Use a local number.
Write Regular Posts
There is no definite answer as to how often but once a week at a minimum. (my theory is that Google is trying to turn GMB into a Google + like platform and in doing so, is favouring sites with regular posting; but I have no data to back that up).
The great thing about GMB Posts is, when someone searches for a particular business on Google, the Post shows up front-and-centre in the business’ Knowledge Panel.
If you need information on how to make great posts that drive traffic to your business, click here.
A Google My Business Post can include videos or photos, copy, a Call To Action and a URL that tells people more about what you’re trying to convey in your Post. Each Post has a limit of 300 words, but by default, Google shows a preview text of 100 words.
Get As Many Reviews As Possible
The higher the number of reviews your business has, the higher the chances you will show up higher in the three-pack. Even an occasional bad review will not hurt you.
As far as I can say, to this day, the number of reviews a location has, directly correlates with how they rank in the three-pack. I don’t foresee this staying like this forever. I think eventually, through enough spammy actions by unethical SEOers, Google will have to become more intelligent on how they rank the three-pack, but for now, locations with many reviews and the best overall rating are hitting the top.
It’s against Google policy to pay your clients for reviews. You can use a third-party reputation management tool to collect reviews, but they are designed to remain in-line with Google policy. You can learn more about the policy here.
Optimizing your GMB isn’t complicated. You can do it in a couple of hours and then you’re done. BUT it’s so vitally important to get it done. If you do anything for your online marketing, it’s this.
For more information on local search ranking factors, visit: https://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors
For more information on how to optimize your profile, visit: https://moz.com/blog/how-to-optimize-your-google-my-business-listing